Pottsville Area School District Education Association members willing to strike

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Rising frustration among a local teacher association has members saying they are willing to strike for a change. Eyewitness News spoke to the president of the Pottsville Area School District Education Association about the changes she wants to see in the school system.

Amy Babcock has been a teacher for the Pottsville Area School District for about 11 years. Recently, she and others in the Pottsville Area School District Education Association are worried about the decline she’s seen in school resources and growing class sizes.

“As an association, we are really concerned with the direction that district is going. Our job is to provide a quality education for our students and we are getting more concerned that we are not able to do that,” Babcock said.

At a school board meeting Tuesday night, the association expressed their frustrations by presenting a no-confidence vote in Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel. The association also took a vote to authorize a strike if things get to that point.

“We want them to see that we are struggling and to hear our frustrations. That we are working as hard as we can every day and we are very worried that if teachers continue to leave the district or programs are cut, that that is not going to happen anymore,” Babcock said.

Zwiebel responded in part saying: “I regret that a vote was taken. I respect the job that our teachers do each and every day with our students. We have a common goal of providing the best education possible to our students to give them the tools to succeed in life. I will continue to work day in and day out with our teachers, staff, board, taxpayers and businesses in our community, to see that common goal realized.”

Tara Davis has three kids who attend school in Pottsville. It’s their first year in the school system, so hearing about Tuesday’s vote raises some concerns.

So far it’s been a very positive experience at the school here so I hope that things go well and they come up with some kind of agreement,” Davis said.

Babcock says the association wants the school to become more financially stable, listen to their input, and discuss decisions that impact the students with them. They hope these votes are a stepping stone to get back on the same page to provide students with the best education possible.

There are about 180 teachers in the Pottsville Area School District Education Association.

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